Productivity in the South African Public Section: Analysis of current issues and future prospects
This study examined the issues and concerns for improving productivity in the public sector in South Africa, aligned in particular with the processes of its fundamental transformation, and the aims and objectives of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). More than that, it provided the view, the approach, the strategies and techniques to bring about productivity improvement. Productivity is not presented as a panacea to solve all problems. It is presented mainly as an attitude about the importance of productivity that must be acquired followed by suggestions for how to bring about its development. To provide both a comprehensive and at the same time a focused approach to improving productivity in the public sector. A second objective was to describe new skills and proven strategies that could be used for productivity improvement. The study discusses various approaches to improving productivity in the public sector that can be implemented in a number of practical ways. A third and primary objective was to recommend a model that would effectively improve productivity in the public sector. This model deals with the quantification of productivity gains through the restructuring of budgets and thereby achieving significant savings that could be transferred to priority RDP programmes. This study used both qualitative and quantitative methods. The study reviewed both domestic and international published work and current research within universities, policy bodies, government departments and elsewhere, including a reconsideration of previous work. The following conclusions were reached and recommendations made: Substantial efficiency and productivity gains are envisaged through the introduction of various models for improving productivity which include a structured productivity improvement programme, the use of performance enhancing methods, performance measurements and performance related pay. Furthermore, savings, resources and capacity can be released by the RDP programmes through: Restructuring and reprioritizing the budget programmes by making small cuts in what were apartheid-serving programmes and reallocating the human, material and financial resources thus released for high priority RDP programmes/projects. International experiences show that a direct link between falls in public investment, physical infrastructure and decline in productivity exists. The effectiveness of the public sector to a large extent conditions economic development. The move towards a leaner and more cost effective public service in South Africa should be based, not on privatisation, but on the creation of effective partnerships between government, labour, business and civil society, and the building of high levels of community involvement in the local delivery of services.